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Yes, this Duval public school removed fiction books from its library for review under new state guidelines

"I have no answers for my kids on why this is happening," said parent Brian Covey, whose child was shocked to find empty shelves when he went searching for a book.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — *Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated which books were removed from the school's library.

A video has been shared millions of times on social media and on national news outlets showing empty book shelves at a Duval County middle school library. The shelves were stripped in response to a new state law in which educators could be charged with a third-degree felony for giving students access to books and literature that have not been approved by the state.

Duval County schools and its teachers union have advised its educators to remove all books from classrooms and libraries to insure all reading material has been approved by the Florida Department of Education.


Were books removed from a middle school library in Duval County? 


  • Brian Covey, parent
  • Duval County Public Schools


This is true.

Yes, Brian Covey, a parent of a Duval County student and a substitute teacher at Mandarin Middle School, took video in the school's library and posted it on Jan. 26 on Twitter showing barren shelves.


Covey told First Coast News he picked his child up from school recently and the child was upset. He told his father that he wanted to read a particular book for an incentive reading program that promised an ice cream social at the end of the year. When the child sought the book in his school's library, all of the books had been removed.

"I have no answers for my kids on why this is happening." Covey said adding that this was something he's only read about.

Covey said he took the video at the school where he teaches to see if what occurred at his child's school was happening there.

It was, and he shared video of it that has since gone viral. The fiction books in the school's library were removed to make sure the reading material met state reading guidelines, according to Duval Count Public Schools. 

"[I] decided to share that because it blew my mind that type of drastic action was needed." Covey said.

A memo from the state Department of Education to Florida school superintendents in June 2022 states that classroom "book selections meet the selection criteria in section (s.) 1006.40 3d. 

Duval County Superintendent of Schools Diana Greene, stated in a video posted to DCPS' YouTube page:

"Now with specific guidance and direction from the Florida Department of Education we are launching a formal review of our classroom libraries."

A post on the DCPS website states, "Under new Florida law, all books in elementary school libraries (including classroom collections for independent reading) must be reviewed by a certified media specialist. State training on these new laws requires that books be free from:

  • Pornography – defined in the Merriam Webster dictionary as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.”
  • Instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in grades kindergarten through three.
  • Discrimination in such a way that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex, or national origin is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.

In the training, Florida educators are reminded that violation of this provision is a third-degree felony," the article states.

RELATED: Yes, Florida teachers could face third-degree felony for using books, literature in classroom not approved by state


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